June 11th, 2021

V² Finale F-Class Tournament Underway in Tennesee

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park

V² Finale Double Elimination Tournament at 1000 Yards
A new kind of F-Class Tournament is being held in Tennessee over the next three days. The V² (“V-Squared”) Finale, sponsored by Vihtavuori and Vortex Optics, is a double-elimination shooting match, conducted much like a basketball tournament. There are 32 competitor places each in F-Open Division and F-TR — for 64 places total. In each round there is “pair firing”. Two shooters compete head-to-head with three, 15-round strings, all at 1000 yards. The winner of each two-person match-up proceeds, while the loser goes into a loser’s bracket… so everyone has a second change to win some of the prizes. This event is about more than trophies and glory — it is also about winning big piles of cash — $28,000 in total.

V² Finale F-Open Bracket LIVE | V² Finale F-TR Bracket LIVE

64 shooters, who earned entry with points garnered in previous matches, have been invited to compete for $28,000 in prize monies. The V² Finale is held at the Dead Zero Shooting Park in Tennessee, an impressive, modern facility. The Dead Zero 1000-yard range is equipped with ShotMarker electronic targets. That means that scoring is quick, there is no waiting for targets to be marked, and, importantly, no pit duties for the competitors.

V² Points Series and Finale Info Packet | V² Facebook Page


This video, created last year explains the V² Finale Rules and Course of Fire.

The V² Finale itself is conducted over three (3) days. It’s a double-elimination tournament — this means that everybody has the opportunity to shoot at least two matchups. A loss in the primary bracket will seed you into the elimination bracket, where you will have the opportunity to continue on and potentially work your way back to shoot for the overall Championship.

The V² Finale is a pair-fire, best two of three format, with 15-shot strings (45 rounds max per person per bracket). If one shooter wins the first TWO strings, the third string is not fired. The idea behind this pair-firing is to have both competitors for each stage shooting at the exact same time, in the exact same conditions, on the exact same target. The only person you are competing against is the person next to you. The competitors who wins two out of three matches in the matchup will advance.

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park

V² Finale Bracket Match Results

READ THIS!! You can scroll UP and Down with your mouse, and thereby see the Loser’s bracket for both F-Open and F-TR.
READ THIS!! You can use the BRACKET Pull-Down Menu (Upper Right) to select Winner’s and Loser’s Brackets, or choose Top 16 and Top 8.
READ THIS!! You can pull box to left to see more on the right side, using mouse (or finger on smartphone).
READ THIS!! The boxes below are live feeds from the Match Website. Click links below to view Bracket Results on FULL SCREEN.
READ THIS!! This is NOT a static image, it will change as results are filled in. You can come back to this page and see more results as the event progresses.

V² Finale F-Open Bracket LIVE | V² Finale F-TR Bracket LIVE

F-Open Event Results in Real Time — Use Mouse to Scroll!

F-TR Event Results in Real Time — Use Mouse to Scroll!

The V² Finale match, sponsored by Vihtavuori Powders and Vortex Optics, takes place June 11-13 at the Dead Zero Shooting Park in Tennessee. This is a limited-field event for the top 32 F-Open and 32 F-TR competitors who have accrued the most points for the 2020-2021 season. The match will be a double-elimination bracket system (e.g. NCAA March Madness) where shooters are matched up against a single opponent for each round. As opposed to a typical match where you shoot against the entire field, this type of competition allows for two shooters to go head to head pair-fire style, competing under the exact same conditions. No wind alibis. No relay roulette. No excuses. Keep advancing and you will find yourself in the finals where you’ll have a chance to win the prestige of being the best F-Open or F-TR shooter in the country plus some serious prize money and awards.

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park
The V² Finale firing line on 6/11 at the Dead Zero Shooting Park.

Thanks to the generous support from Vihtavuori Powders and Vortex Optics, more than 85% of the entry fees are awarded back to the shooters in the form of cash prizes, awarded all the way down to 8th place for each category. The creators of the V² points series noted: “This type of reward for performance is one of the core reasons why we created the V² Finale and why you won’t find any prize tables.”

For more details see the V² Series Information Packet or visit the V² Series Facebook Page.

Vihtavouri Supports Innovative V² Finale Match Format
“Vihtavuori is honored to partner with Vortex Optics for the inaugural V2 F-Class Point Series Finale. We’re excited to be onsite and support the world’s best long range shooters who will compete in a match they designed themselves,” stated Geoff Esterline, Marketing Director for Capstone Precision Group.

v2 f-tr f-open f-class shooting tournament finale point series tennessee dead zero shooting park

Why Was the F-Class Points Series Created? (Official Statement)
Everyone in the F-Class world knows about their local, state and regional matches and many of those shooters attend the Southwest Nationals and F-Class National Championship each year. These matches are often challenging and feature some of the best shooters in the country at any given time. As great and exciting as those matches are, they have some key limitations – they don’t answer the question of consistency over peak performance. They allow for random chance to play a role in results, in the form of target service, conditions, or “relay roulette”, among other factors. Basically, they don’t allow for a true measure of shooter performance over time, and more specifically, in a true test of head-to-head competition. It was partly with this in mind that we created the F-Class Points Series to collect and award points with the ultimate goal of putting on a one-of-a-kind, limited-field, matchup-style event that will give competitors a format to prove that the best indicator of skill is reliable consistency, not peak performance. A points system will allow us to track consistent performance over the course of a yearlong FPS season, culminating in an invitation to join the limited field of the V² Finale for the top 64 qualifying competitors.

Map for Dead Zero Shooting Park

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June 12th, 2021

How to Prep Mil-Surp 5.56 Lake City Brass — Save Money

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One excellent “Handloading Hump Day” post covered preparation of once-fired 5.56x45mm brass. This article, the first in a 3-part series, has many useful tips. If you shoot a rifle chambered in .223 Rem or 5.56x45mm, this article is worth reading.

This week, Handloading Hump-Day will answer a special request from several competitive shooters who asked about procedures for morphing once-fired GI 5.56mm brass into accurate match brass for NRA High Power Rifle use. The USAMU has used virgin Lake City (LC) 5.56 brass to win National Championships and set National Records for many years. In this 3-part series, we’ll share techniques proven to wring match-winning accuracy from combat-grade brass.

GI brass has an excellent attribute, worth noting — it is virtually indestructible. Due to its NATO-spec hardness, the primer pockets last much longer than most commercial brass when using loads at appropriate pressures.

Preparing Once-Fired GI 5.56 Brass for Reloading (Part 1 of 3)

Assuming our readers will be getting brass once-fired as received from surplus dealers, the following steps can help process the low-cost raw material into reliably accurate components.

1. Clean the Brass
First, clean the brass of any dirt/mud/debris, if applicable. Depending on the brass’s condition, washing it in a soap solution followed by a thorough rinsing may help. [This step also extends the life of the tumbling media.] Approaches range from low-tech, using gallon jugs 1/2 full of water/dish soap plus brass and shaking vigorously, to more high-tech, expensive and time-consuming methods.

cleaning Lake City 5.56 brass

2. Wet-Tumbling Options (Be Sure to Dry the Brass)
When applying the final cleaning/polish, some use tumblers with liquid cleaning media and stainless steel pins for a brilliant shine inside and out, while others take the traditional vibratory tumbler/ground media approach. Degree of case shine is purely personal preference, but the key issue is simple cleanliness to avoid scratching ones’ dies.

If a liquid cleaner is used, be SURE to dry the cases thoroughly to preclude corrosion inside. One method is to dump the wet brass into an old pillow case, then tilt it left/right so the cases re-orient themselves while shifting from corner to corner. Several repetitions, pausing at each corner until water stops draining, will remove most water. They can then be left to air-dry on a towel, or can be dried in a warm (150° F-200° F max) oven for a few minutes to speed evaporation.

Shown below are Lake City cases after cleaning with Stainless Media (STM). Note: STM Case cleaning was done by a third party, not the USAMU, which does not endorse any particular cleaning method.

3. Inspect Every Case
Once dry, inspect each case for significant deformation (i.e., someone stepped on it), damaged mouths/necks and case head/rim damage. Some rifles’ ejectors actually dig small chunks of brass out of the case head — obviously, not ideal for precision shooting. Similarly, some extractors can bend the case rims so badly that distortion is visible when spinning them in one’s fingers. These can be used for plinking, but our match brass should have straight, undamaged rims.

Dented case mouths are common, and these can easily be rounded using a conical, tapered tool, [such as a .223 expander mandrel. A dummy 7.62 or .30-06 cartridge with a FMJ spitzer can also work.] If most of your brass is of one headstamp, this is a good time to cull out any odd cases.

4. Check the Primers Before Decapping
Your clean, dry and inspected brass is now ready for full-length sizing, decapping and re-priming. Historically, primer crimps on GI brass have caused some head-scratching (and vile language) among handloaders. Our next installment will detail efficient, easy and practical methods to remove primer crimp, plus other useful handloading tips. Until next week, Good Shooting!

NOTE: The USAMU Handloading (HL) Shop does not RE-load fired 5.56 brass. We use virgin LC brass with our chosen primer already staked in place. However, our staff has extensive personal experience reloading GI brass for competition, which will supplement the Shop’s customary steps. In handloading, as in life, there are many ways to accomplish any given task. Our suggestions are note presented as the “only way,” by any means. Time for loading/practicing is always at a premium. Readers who have more efficient, alternative methods that maintain top accuracy are invited to share them here.

Accuracy Potential of Mil-Surp 5.56×45 Brass

So, how accurate can previously-fired GI surplus brass be in a good National Match AR-15? Well, here’s a data point from many years ago that might be of interest. A High Power shooter who wrote for the late Precision Shooting magazine took a Bill Wylde-built AR match rifle to a registered Benchrest match. His first 5-round group ever fired in a BR match was officially measured at 0.231″ at 200 hundred yards. This was fired in front of witnesses, while using a moving target backer that confirmed all five rounds were fired.

He recounted that his ammo was loaded progressively with factory 52gr match bullets and a spherical powder using mixed years of LC brass with no special preparation whatsoever. Obviously, this was “exceptional”. However, he had no difficulty obtaining consistent 0.5-0.6 MOA accuracy at 200 yards using LC brass and a generic “practice” load that was not tuned to his rifle.

Saving Money by Using GI Brass

So, with good commercial brass readily available, why would one go to all the extra steps necessary to process fired GI brass? [Editor: It’s about saving money.]

Economically, it makes great sense. When the author was actively practicing and competing with the service rifle, he had ~3,000 rounds of 5.56mm brass, which allowed him to load during winter and spend most time in the summer practicing. If one were wealthy and wanted to shoot nothing but the finest imported brass, the current cost of 3,000 is ~$1920 (plus shipping.)

Dropping down to good, but less-expensive new, U.S. commercial brass brings the price to a much more realistic ~$720. However, at current rates, the same amount of surplus GI once-fired brass costs between $120 — $150, leaving lots of room in the budget for other expenses. [Editor: that’s less than 10% of the cost of the best imported brass.]

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June 12th, 2021

TEN Shots (100-6X) in 4.554″ at 1000 — Watch This on Video!

Scott Nix Dasher Record

6mm DasherHow well can the little 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when the conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ ten-shot group shot at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under three inches.

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy
Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them! This video was recorded from the pits at the 1000-yard line, during record fire.

Deep Creek Range
The Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT is one of the nicest places to shoot in the Intermountain West region. The range is located in the mountains within a few minutes drive of Missoula, and there is camping on-site. When conditions are good at Deep Creek, records get broken. To learn more about shooting at Deep Creek, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan[at]gmail.com.

Here is an aerial view of the Deep Creek Range (Drone video by David Gosnell):

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June 12th, 2021

Koenig Precision Rifle Match in Colorado This Weekend

Doug Koenig Ruger PRS Precision rifle competition Colorado Cameo grand junction

Many notable shooting matches are being held this month. As Pandemic restrictions recede, competitive shooters are getting back to the range, and that’s definitely a good thing. F-Classers are competing in Tennessee this weekend (see V² Finale Report), and PRS/NRL aces will be competing in Colorado.

The Colorado tactical match is something new — the inaugural Koenig Shooting Sports Precision Rifle Competition. This challenging event takes place this weekend, June 12-13, at the Cameo Shooting and Education Complex outside Grand Junction, Colorado. Doug Koenig will serve as the match director.

Doug Koenig Ruger PRS Precision rifle competition Colorado Cameo grand junction

This two-day event is expected to attract some of the best precision rifle competitors in the nation, all vying for points to earn an exclusive spot at the year-end PRS Pro Series Finale. Utilizing the picturesque landscape and natural terrain props found at the Cameo Shooting Complex, each competitor’s skills will be put to the test while engaging an assortment of steel, reactive, and automated moving targets at distances from 300 to over 1000 yards.

“I want to thank Ruger not only for their support but also for their continued commitment to this sport,” commented Koenig. “The introduction of the Ruger Precision Rifle disrupted the world of PRS by making it a much more affordable discipline to participate in, so it is only fitting that they are the presenting sponsor of this exciting event.”

Doug Koenig Ruger PRS Precision rifle competition Colorado Cameo grand junction

Doug Koenig and the Ruger Precision Rifle
“Koenig” (or König) means “king” in German. That is indeed appropriate for Doug Koenig, 19-Time Bianchi Cup winner, who is now starting to conquer the rifle world as well. Koenig, considered by many to be the best action pistol shooter on the planet, proved he’s an ace with rifles too, as he has had multiple PRS Production Division victories. Koenig, Captain of Team Ruger, shoots a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), chambered in 6mm Creedmoor. Notably, Production Division limits rifles to $2000.00 for the gun ($4000.00 overall with scope). You can buy an RPR for around $1350.00 typically ($1320.99 at KyGunCo).

In this video, Gavin Gear Shows How to Accurize a Ruger Precision Rifle:

This Interesting Cut-Away Animation Shows How the Ruger Precision Rifle Functions:

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June 11th, 2021

Luke Johnson Wins Lapua Silhouette Super Shoot in Ridgway PA

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

Congratulations to Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center Manager, Luke Johnson, on winning the Lapua Silhouette Super Shoot. Johnson won the Standard Rifle class with a score of 176 out of a possible 200 and a shot a perfect 40 out of 40 in the Hunter Rifle to win the class with an aggregate score of 185.

With Johnson’s perfect score in Hunter Rifle, he joins the elite 4-member club of registered masters who have shot a perfect score in both Standard and Hunter Rifle silhouette disciplines. Johnson obtained his perfect score in Standard Rifle at the 2017 National Silhouette Championship.

The Lapua Super Shoot took place May 29-30, 2021 at the “Silhouette Capital” of the USA, Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA. It consisted of 3 x 120 round relays, all fired from the standing position. For each relay, shooters engage ten chickens at 40 meters, ten pigs at 60 meters, ten turkeys at 77 meters and ten rams at 100 meters.

“This was my 3rd perfect 40/40 of my silhouette career, all have been shot with tested Lapua Center-X,” stated Johnson, “There have only been 10 different competitors to ever fire a perfect score in registered competition. This was a special 40/40 with it being my first in Hunter Rifle class.”

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

Choosing the Perfect Ammo for His Rifle
Johnson’s Lapua Center-X .22 LR ammunition is matched to his firearms at Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center indoor facility. Unique lots of ammunition are tested at 50 and 100 meters simultaneously, identifying the best performing ammunition for purchase. This service is available to all shooters who wish to gain a competitive advantage. Readers take note — you can do this type of ammo testing for your own rimfire rifles. CLICK HERE to schedule ammo testing at either of Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Centers located in Mesa, AZ or Marengo, OH.

About Luke Johnson — Past National Silhouette Champion and All-American
Johnson, a native of Marysville, PA, brings a long background of competitive shooting and hunting to Capstone. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. While pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree, Luke was a 4-year letterman for the University’s D1 Rifle Team. In addition to his 3P/Prone shooting pedigree, Luke is a High Master rifle silhouette competitor. Highlights of his competitive background include: NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Champion, NCAA & CRCA All-American, USA Junior National Champion (50 meter rifle).

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

About Lapua Bullets, Brass, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality, small-caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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June 11th, 2021

Speed Up Bore Cleaning Chores with Wash Bottles

Wash Bottle

rifle bore cleaner bottle

Small patches are not very efficient at distributing bore cleaning liquids inside your bore. The problem with a tight-fitting patch is that the solvent gets squeezed off in the first few inches. You can switch to a smaller jag, or a bore mop, but there is an even better way to get an ample amount of solvent in your bore. Just spray directly into the bore with a wash bottle, an inexpensive plastic bottle with an L-shaped dispensing neck, tapered at the end.

When using the wash bottle, you can either just plug the breech and spray from the muzzle end (where most copper fouling is), or, alternately, put the wash bottle neck directly in the chamber and spray forward. When spraying from the chamber forward, you may need to use a rubber O-Ring to seal off the action… depending on the bore size and the particular wash bottle’s neck spout diameter. We prefer to plug the breech ans squirt from the muzzle.

Bottle Solvent Application Great for Smaller Bores
Using wet patches or wet brushes is an inefficient way to really saturate the tight bores of 17s, 20s, and 22s. Even with a cotton bore mop, most of the solvent will be squeezed out before it gets to the end of the bore, where most copper fouling occurs. For these smaller 17, 20, and 22-caliber bores, you can just take the wash bottle and stick the tapered nozzle right in the chamber. The tapered end will press fit in the throat, sealing off the chamber. With the barrel slightly nose-down, give the bottle a couple good squirts until the solvent mists out the muzzle. In just a few seconds, this will put more solvent in the bore than a half-dozen wet patches.

A solvent-filled wash bottle is also handy for wetting your brushes. It’s much easier to saturate a bore brush (without spilling solvent on your stock), by using the wash bottle. You can get wash bottles from USPlastic.com, Amazon.com, or lab supply stores.

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June 10th, 2021

Full Schedule for 2021 CMP National Matches at Camp Perry

Camp Perry National Matches

Good news — there is still time to register for the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. Visit the National Matches Registration Page today. These historic matches include High Power Rifle, Long Range Rifle, Vintage Military, Smallbore Rifle, Rimfire Sporter, and Pistol matches. The National Rifle and Pistol Matches have been part of Camp Perry tradition since 1907. After being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Matches will be held again, but with some important changes:

— No First Shot Ceremony
— Squadding Reduced to Half Maximum Capacity
— Limiting Firing Points
— Social Distancing and Mask Wearing
— No Public Awards Ceremonies

2021 Camp Perry National Matches

About the National Matches

Held annually at Camp Perry, the National Matches include the CMP National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches, the Pistol and Rifle Small Arms Firing Schools, the National Games Rifle Matches, the National Smallbore Matches and the National Long Range Matches. These matches are conducted by a partnership of the CMP and Ohio National Guard.

2021 Camp Perry National Matches

2021 National Matches Program | National Matches Registration

Since their inception, the National Matches have become a huge, national shooting sports festival with well over 4,500 annual participants. Training participants and competitors range from novices to many of the world’s best. This year the CMP National Matches commence July 12, 2021 and conclude August 14, 2021.

National Matches Registration Links and Entry Forums

Pistol Online Registration
Rimfire Online Registration
Smallbore Online Registration
Rifle Online Registration
Long Range Online Registration

Printable Pistol Entry Form
Printable Rimfire Entry Form
Printable Rifle Entry Form
Printable Long Range Entry Form


2021 National Matches Calendar (Click to Zoom)

National Matches Calendar

National Matches Schedules

National Matches Phases

CMP National Trophy Pistol & Games Matches
National Rimfire Sporter Match
CMP Smallbore Matches
CMP Highpower Rifle Championships
CMP National Trophy Rifle Matches
CMP National Games Events
CMP Long Range Matches

Event Schedules

Welcome Center (In Processing) Calendar
National Trophy Pistol Match Schedule
National Rimfire Sporter Schedule
National Smallbore Championships Schedule
HP Rifle LR Relay Rotation
National Trophy Rifle & CMP Games Schedule
National Long Range Match Schedule

Camp Perry 2021 National Matches

Camp Perry Rimfire Sporter

Camp Perry Map and Directions

View Camp Perry Site Map

Camp Perry National Matches 2021Housing and Lodging — In the summer of 2021, Camp Perry on-base housing and RV spaces WILL be available. Visit the Camp Perry Lodging Conference Center website for more details and reservation links. This offers very affordable lodging and/or camping options. A barracks bed starts at $16.10/night. Reserve a 4-person hut for $58.65 per night.

Small Arms Firing Schools — We’re informed that the Small Arms Firing Schools (SAFS) are still on the schedule for 2021, with a reduced number of spots available. The CMP suggests you sign up early if you wish to participate.

Camp Perry 2021 National Matches

Camp Perry 2021 Vintage Sniper National Matches

FIREARM INSPECTIONS
All firearms, to be used in any CMP Games or CMP Service Rifle event, are required to be inspected by a CMP sanctioned armorer prior to any live fire at every event. Competitors will be required to present all applicable scorecards to the CMP Armorer in order to complete the inspection process. Upon completion of the firearm inspection process, each scorecard will receive a stamp of approval from the CMP Armorer, indicating that no safety violations or rules compliance issues were observed at the time of inspection. Each rifle will also receive an inspection tag, verifying participation in the inspection process.

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June 10th, 2021

Zombies in the Heartland 2021 3-Gun Match Is Big Success

zombies heartland hornady 2021

Hornady’s 2021 Zombies in the Heartland 3-Gun Match
Nearly 400 zombie hunters armed with handguns, shotguns, and rifles converged in Grand Island, Nebraska, June 4-6, 2021 to battle the “undead” during the 9th Annual, Zombies in the Heartland 3-Gun Match hosted by Hornady and the Heartland Public Shooting Park.

zombies heartland hornady 2021

Shooters from 20 different states tested their talent in the 10-stage match. Specially developed reactive zombie targets kept shooters engaged and entertained. Participants shot from a suspended motorcycle, through a burned-out auto yard, and while sitting in a parked pickup truck where shooters were required to turn the wheel to see targets.

The top shooters in each class were:

Open: Jon Wiedell, 1st overall
Tactical: Riley Kropff, 2nd overall
Amateur: Jeremiah Ochsner
PCC: Kelly Neal

Lady: Dakota Overland
Junior: Logan Toland
Senior: Tony Holmes
Super Senior: Jerry Miculek, 3rd overall

For complete Zombie Match results visit https://practiscore.com/results/new/137200.

“We look forward to this match every year,” said Jeremy Millard, Hornady Engineer and Match Director. “Competitors from many different states travel to this match because they enjoy the environment, stages and camaraderie,” Millard added.

“The Zombie Match would simply not be possible without the help of our amazing volunteers” said Steve Hornady, President. “In addition, all of the sponsors that donate to this match – thank you. We had a prize table valued at $130,000 this year, that’s incredible,” Hornady added.

Zombies in the Heartland Highlights Video. This well-made 2017 video is worth watching! This video offers Shooter’s POV views of many stages including full auto:

zombies heartland 2021

ZOMBIES HEARTLAND 2021

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June 10th, 2021

Indoor Range Shooting — Tips for a Better, Safer Experience

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report
Photo courtesy Silver Eagle Group Shooting Range, Northern Virginia.

Over 8 million Americans purchased their first firearm, typically handguns, over the last year and a half. These first-time gun owners definitely need to train with their new guns. In addition, all CCW permit holders should definitely practice regularly. For many, pistol practice is an indoor experience. Indoor ranges are most convenient for those who live near urban centers, where the biggest threats to public safety currently exist. This article talks about indoor firearms training and the proper procedures you should follow at indoor ranges.

This Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules and Etiquette

FIVE IMPORTANT SAFETY PROCEDURES for Indoor Ranges

1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

2. Follow ALL Range Officer Instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing with a Range Officer may just get you thrown out.

3. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. NEVER handle or touch another shooter’s firearm without their permission!

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all range rules and requirements/expectations. For example, what is the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass?

5. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). Range Officers do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation — they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly.

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report

BAD RANGE BEHAVIOR — Five Things NOT to Do at the Range

Here are the five worst behaviors we’ve seen at indoor ranges. These behaviors are both dangerous and inconsiderate. Any one of these behaviors can get you permanently banned from an indoor range.

1. Sweeping other individuals after loading a weapon behind the firing line is very bad. All your weapons should be empty until you reach your shooting station.

2. Turning the handgun sideways while trying to clear a malfunction or insert/remove a magazine. This will point the muzzle at a fellow shooter. Or, after shooting a gun, the shooter fails to clear the weapon and then places the gun somewhere near the shooting station with the muzzle in an unsafe position.

3. Reacting unpredictably when firing a high recoil handgun. We’ve seen people take a second shot by accident with the muzzle way off target.

4. Not obeying range commands — in particular continuing to shoot during called cease-fires.

5. Poorly aimed shooting that hits target frames or carriers, causing ricochets.

Double-Up on Hearing Protection When Shooting Indoors
When shooting indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath.

indoor range survey results NSSF

For pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other audio device. These muffs are a good value. These are an Amazon’s Choice for $56.35.

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

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June 9th, 2021

Iron Man Silhouette Event at Montana’s Deep Creek Range

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Ace silhouette shooter Erich Mietenkorte (Team SK/Lapua) offers this report from Montana. Erich took top honors in Centerfire Silhouette (both standard and hunter rifle), while earning a first and second in the rimfire classes. Here is Erich’s report:

There’s a reason they call it the “Iron Man” Regional Silhouette Championship — shooting eight rifle matches over two days is no easy task! The four smallbore matches on Saturday were met with very windy conditions but I was able to shoot through it to finish 1st in standard rifle and 2nd in hunter rifle.

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep CreekGreat Conditions for Centerfire Matches
The wind died down on Sunday and we had great conditions for the High Power rifle events (bolt-action centerfire). Four matches later I finished first in both standard and hunter rifle classes. After the scores from all eight matches were totaled up, I finished first overall and won the “Iron Man” Aggregate trophy.

These results wouldn’t be possible without the amazing products from SK Ammunition, Lapua, Berger Bullets, and Vihtavuori Powders. Thank you for your support!

Thanks to all of the people who put on a great match at the beautiful Deep Creek Range in Missoula, Montana. All of your hard work is truly appreciated!

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Erich Mietenkorte silhouette shooting Missoula Montana Deep Creek

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
June 9th, 2021

Pre-Fit Solution — Don’t Waste Time with a Funky Factory Barrel

Savage Pre-Fit Criterion Barrel

Savage Criterion BarrelIn our Shooters’ Forum, you’ll find a lengthy thread about accuracy problems with a Savage LRPV, chambered in 6mmBR. The gun would repeatedly split groups at 100 yards, and at 300 yards, the “flyers” would open up the groups to 1.5 MOA or larger. Interestingly, the factory test target (at right) showed a split group — not a good sign.

The gun’s owner, forum member LR_Shooter, tried a variety of tweaks: “I did this, done that… [changed] torque, tang floated, bedded action, recut chamber, and [adjusted firing pin]”. But nothing really helped. Frustrated, LR_Shooter asked his fellow Forum members for help. Much advice was proffered, including the novel idea of removing the middle action screw in the Savage 3-screw target action. Some of the advice proved helpful, but none of the suggested remedies produced a major improvement. This rifle, out of the box, tossed flyers and no amount of tweaking (or changes in shooting technique) really cured the basic problem. That is, until, the factory barrel got replaced…

New Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel Works Wonders
LR_Shooter acquired a Criterion pre-fit barrel from Jim Briggs at Northland Shooters Supply (NSS). These pre-fits are designed for easy installation with the standard Savage barrel nut. Wouldn’t you know it, with a new 30″ heavy-contour barrel on the LRPV, the gun started shooting way better. No more crazy fliers, no more split groups, no more excessive vertical. And the improvement came without any other major modifications. LR_Shooter reports: “I got a replacement barrel from Jim at NSS. It is a 30″ bull Criterion barrel. So far, without playing with torque screws and having my old setup… I’m very satisfied with the barrel I got. Now I have no problem getting [groups] under 0.25 MOA. Finally this thing can shoot!” The targets below, shot with the new Criterion barrel, speak for themselves. The left target was shot at 100 yards, while the target on the right was shot at 300 yards (very impressive).

Targets Shot with Savage LRPV Fitted with Criterion Barrel
Savage Criterion Barrel

Read Thread on Savage Accuracy Issues Fixed By Criterion Barrel

Moral of the Story — Sometimes A New Barrel Really Is the Right Solution
All of us have struggled at times with a rifle that won’t live up to expectations. This Editor personally struggled for over a year with a .260 Rem Savage with a factory tube. The gun tended to split groups and the POI walked as the barrel heated. I tried one powder/primer combination after another, working through a variety of seating depths over many months. I was persistent. Out of stubbornness, I just believed that sooner or later I’d find the magic load.

Well folks, sometimes there’s really nothing you can do about a sub-par barrel. It is what it is. To really improve a gun’s accuracy (particularly a gun with a factory tube), you may need to open your wallet and get a quality aftermarket barrel. Spending months trying one recipe after another may simply be an overwhelming waste of powder, bullets, and your precious time.

Albert Einstein supposedly said: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Well that sort of describes my efforts with my .260 Rem. Once I had enough evidence that my barrel split groups no matter what load combo (and seating depth) I tried, it was time to pony up for a new barrel. When I did finally screw on a nice PacNor 3-groove SuperMatch, that Savage suddenly became a true tack-driver. As re-chambered in 6mmBR with the Pac-Nor, in calm conditions, my Savage will now consistently shoot in the twos with heavy bullets, and it can sometimes dip down into the ones with Berger 80gr flat-base bullets. The moral of the story here is simple — don’t waste weeks or months chasing your tail with a barrel that just won’t deliver (after a reasonable amount of testing). Save up for a custom barrel, get it chambered properly, and stop your cycle of frustration.

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June 9th, 2021

$90,000 Up for Grabs at Armageddon Gear Cup — ShootingUSA TV

Armageddon Gear AG Cup Invitational Shooting USA

Fans of PRS/NRL competition should check out this Armageddon Cup show. Shooting USA offers a special hour-long edition devoted to the second Armageddon Gear AG Cup Invitational. The show airs today, Wednesday 6/9/21 at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific (8:00 PM Central) on the Outdoor Channel. You can also stream the show anytime on Vimeo.

The 2020 AG Cup showcased an all-star line-up of tactical talent. 42 of the nation’s top PRS/NRL marksmen were invited to the three-day match at the Arena Training Facility in Georgia. $90,000 was up for grabs at this event — the highest cash payout in the history of rifle competition. There’s $1,000 for the winner of each stage and $50,000 for the overall winner of the Cup.

Watch Video for Highlights of Armaggeddon Gear Cup Tactical Match:

This full, 48-minute AG CUP episode can be streamed on Vimeo for $0.99. Or you can watch an unlimited number of Shooting USA shows for a $3.99 per month subscription. Click the video above to preview the broadcast.

2020 was the second year of the Armageddon Gear Cup match. With $90,000 in total prizes (and $50K for the Cup Winner) there couldn’t be more excitement or more pressure as the field of 42 competitors is cut down to 12 finalists. Those dozen finalists started Day Three with a clean record in their quest for the Cup title and huge pay-out.

hornady armageddon cup a-tip bullets
Armageddon Gear Founder Tom Fuller competes in PRS and supervised the 2020 AG Cup.

Armageddon Gear AG Cup Invitational Shooting USA

In this hour-long Shooting USA special, John Scoutten and Armageddon Gear’s Tom Fuller report the action and interview top competitors. The winner of each of the 20 stages received a $1000 cash prize. During the show, you can watch the competitors adapt to challenging stage set-ups and weather conditions. With $1000 at stake for each stage, a single miss can cost serious money!

Arena Training Facility — 2300 Acres
The 2300-acre Arena Training Facility is a premier shooting facility with multiple shooting ranges from 50m to 2100m. Arena’s 1000-yard covered Known Distance range offers multiple benches, steel and paper targets out to 1000 yards. On Arena’s UKD (unknown distance) range shooters can engage steel out to 2300 yards. This 2100m UKD range boasts a 3-Story Shooting Tower, Air-Conditioned Shoot House, and multiple Positional Challenges.space.

arena training facility Georgia

Armaggedon Gear — Tactical Accessories
Armageddon Gear, founded by former U.S. Army Ranger Tom Fuller, sells support bags, gun cases, slings, suppressor covers, scope covers, and other accessories popular with the PRS/NRL crowd. Armageddon Gear now provides products to the U.S. Military, Law Enforcement, as well as PRS/NRL competitors.

Armageddon Gear Game-Changer Bag
Game Changer PRS bag

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge
Shooting USA is available On Demand via Vimeo.com. Watch a single episode for $0.99, or get a full-month subscription for $3.99 and watch as many shows as you like with limited commercial interruptions.

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June 8th, 2021

Indiana Teen Wins Air Rifle and Smallbore at Camp Perry Open

Bremen Butler Air Rifle junior Olympics Camp Perry

We like to feature skilled young shooters — they are the future of our sport. Here’s a profile of a very proficient young lady, Bremen Butler, who recently won both Air Rifle and Smallbore competitions at the Camp Perry Open. She also secured two silver medals at USA Shooting’s Junior Olympics — one for air rifle and one for smallbore. Just 16 years old, this talented teen from Fort Wayne, Indiana is well on her way to a becoming a top competitor. Next stop will be a collegiate shooting team, and who knows, maybe she will become an Olympian some day. Bremen has only been competing in marksmanship for about two years but has already enjoyed great success.

Bremen Butler Air Rifle junior Olympics Camp PerryBremen Wins in Field of 250 Shooters
At the Camp Perry Open, Bremen won both the Three-Position Air Rifle portion and the newly added 3×40 Smallbore match. Once the inaugural Camp Perry Open Smallbore event was completed, Bremen went on to claim the overall win in the 3PAR match, fired the same day. She also finished eighth overall in the 60-Shot Open rifle event. “I had a rough first day”, she said of her performance in the 60-Shot. “However, I was able to recover on Day Two by shooting a new personal record of 625.2, which was very exciting for me.”

The 2021 Camp Perry Open attracted more than 250 shooters from around the nation. The annual event is conducted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry in Ohio. Typically fired in January, the 2021 Camp Perry Open was moved to May to allow the 3×40 Smallbore Rifle portion to be added to the schedule for the first time. Over 60 competitors took to the firing line on Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range for the new outdoor 3×40, with Bremen coming out on top.

Bremen said: “I enjoy shooting Smallbore and like the extra challenge the wind brings when shooting outdoors. I feel any opportunity to boost the number of matches for shooters is a fantastic and welcome idea. I was excited to be shooting on Petrarca. My first experience shooting Smallbore was on that same range during the 2019 CMP Summer Camp.”

Home Air Rifle Training in the Kitchen!
young girl shooter Bremen butler air rifle smallbore
Bremen often trains in the kitchen of her family’s home using SCATT movement tracking systems and other modern technologies.

To train, she stands in front of her kitchen stove and shoots through the living room into a trap sitting on the family’s fireplace mantel. She uses a single paper bull with the SCATT attached to her rifle to score a 60-shot match each day. Bremen says she trains four to six days a week, which has helped her scores steadily improve. When she’s not training at home, Bremen travels to as many competitions as she can: “My family has been very supportive as we travel to as many matches as possible.”

Two Silvers at the USA Shooting’s Junior Olympics
Bremen Butler Air Rifle junior Olympics Camp Perry

The week before the Camp Perry Open, Bremen shot at USA Shooting’s Junior Olympics and brought home silver medals for both Smallbore and Air Rifle in the J2 age group. She also qualified for the Smallbore Finals and finished sixth overall in the discipline.

Remote Training with Olympian Rifle Coach During Pandemic
Bremen began competing in Precision Air Rifle and Smallbore almost two years ago. In July 2020, she began training remotely with Olympian and current rifle coach Jayme Shipley via WebEx and utilizing SCATT. She uses her laptop plus a smartphone to allow for multiple-angle views for her coach to observe.

Bremen Butler SCATT MX-2 training

How the SCATT MX-02 Works
The SCATT sensor mounted on the end of the barrel has a digital camera that recognizes the black bullseye in the target, even in broad daylight outdoors. Using the bullseye as a reference, the SCATT software tracks the movement of the muzzle relative to the center of the target. The unit can plot these movements as a continuous trace, which appears on a monitor as a squiggly, colored line. By sensing the exact moment of shot release, the SCATT can also interpolate relative shot placement (for a single shot or series of shots).

Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry
Gary Anderson Competition Center

When she finds time, Bremen visits Camp Perry to practice air rifle within the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center. Now when she makes the trip, she can think back to her 2021 Camp Perry Open memories as she works toward even more marksmanship successes. “I love the CMP ranges and enjoy visiting it whenever possible for training,” Bremen said.

CMP Competition Centers — Planning a Visit
The CMP operates two indoor air gun ranges equipped with electronic targets. Plan visits to the Anniston, Alabama, or Port Clinton, Ohio, ranges by calling (419) 635-2141, ext. 704. Both ranges are open to the public and offer rental equipment. Last year, Bremen traveled to CMP’s South Competition Center in Alabama for the annual Dixie Double air gun event and competed in the USA Shooting Winter Airgun event. There she won gold for the J2 age group. It was her first national medal in only the second event of that level in her career.

READ Full Report on CMP.org

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June 8th, 2021

Steelhead Outdoors Offers American-Made Modular Safes

steelhead modular safe steel

For gun owner who have to move frequently, or who may live in an upstairs apartment or condo, we recommend a modular safe. We have featured modular safes in the past, and now we’re pleased to say there is a new line of made-in-USA modular safes that may work well for our readers. Steelhead Outdoors, based in Minnesota, now offers three different safes: Nomad 26, 32, and Nomad 38. These are good products for sure, but they are also quite expensive. The Nomad 26 starts at $2495.00 while the big Nomad 38 lists for $3495.00. However, when you consider the value of your gun collection, the cost becomes more tolerable if you need a safe you can take down and move.

steelhead modular safe steel

USA-Made Nomad Series safes come in three sizes — Nomad 26, Nomad 32, and Nomad 38:

Nomad 26 — 25.5″ W x 54″ T, holds 6-15 long guns. Weight 375 lbs. (< 100 lbs. per panel) Nomad 32 -- 31.5" W x 60" T, holds 8-19 long guns. Weight 500 lbs. (< 135 lbs. per panel) Nomad 32 -- 37.5" W x 60" T, holds 10-34 long guns. Weight 600 lbs. (< 165 lbs. per panel)

This video explains the features of Steelhead Nomad Series modular, take-apart gun safes:

Steelhead Outdoors states: “Our modular gun safes are easily moved and assembled by two people. Traditional safes require hiring a specialized safe moving company, which is costly, or enlisting buddies on a dangerous DIY adventure each time the homeowner moves.”

steelhead modular safe steel

Steelhead Outdoors Nomad series safes features some high-end security features. The patent-pending construction features a fully dry insulation system, eliminating the need for a dehumidifier. This system utilizes a radiant heat reflecting coating to reject incoming heat from entering the safe. The metal interior provides additional protection and is made from nearly 100 percent nonflammable materials. The panels are filled with ceramic fire insulation that is rated to 2300 degrees and is non-moisture trapping so it does not require the use of a dehumidifier and will not release steam into the safe in the event of a fire.

This cool time-lapse video shows the entire process of assembly the safe, start to finish.

The video below shows how to assemble a Steelhead Outdoors Nomad series safe. If you have basic skills, these safes can be assembled easily in 60-90 minutes. Steelhead recommends having two people to do the job. The entire safe ships in four (4) boxes. Wrenches are included with the safe.

Features of Steelhead Outdoors Nomad Series Safes
Steelhead Outdoors Nomad Series of premium modular gun safes are designed and constructed to allow for flexibility and mobility without sacrificing safety or durability. Shooters, hunters and gun collectors will appreciate these smart design decisions.

— Double wall construction with 12-gauge welded, powder-coated exterior panels and 20-gauge interior panels, 7-gauge plate door (3/16″), large 1/2″ locking plates.
— Patent-pending construction with dual-stage fire protection with 2300° insulation and radiation-reflecting panels, for enhanced corrosion resistance.
— Drill resistant hard plate features 78 captured, hardened ball bearings to destroy attacking drill bits
— Full-length hinge side locking bar locks door solidly in place, even with door hinges removed
— Cam-Over-Center direct drive lock mechanism with metal bearings at every moving point
— Ships flat and easily assembled in place with one hex key wrench (provided)

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June 7th, 2021

BargainFinder 298: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Palmetto State Armory — Savage A22 .22 LR, $249.99

Savage A22 .22 LR 22LR rifle sale discount

Great Price on versatile self-Loader for plinking or NRL22

Looking for an affordable, versatile .22 LR rifle for NRL22 rimfire matches, varminting, and fun shooting? The Savage A22, now just $249.99 on sale, is a great value. The A22 features a strong steel receiver, chromed bolt, 10-round rotary magazine, and adjustable Savage AccuTrigger. The A22’s rotary magazine offers fast cycling, while the delayed blowback action is safe and reliable. For gun games where speed counts, we like semi-autos — follow-up shots are way faster than a bolt-action.

2. Midsouth — Frontier .223 Rem 55gr HP Ammo, $12.99/20

.223 ammo sale
Yes, finally — .223 Rem ammo IN STOCK at a reasonable price!

Looking for good .223 Rem ammunition without breaking the bank? Midsouth has Frontier .223 Remington 55 Grain Hollow Point ammo in stock at just $12.99 per box of 20 rounds. Quality .223 Rem ammo at $0.65 per round is about the best deal you’ll find these days. So grab some now before it’s all gone. Verified buyers say this ammo is dependable.

3.Graf & Sons — Magnetospeed Sporter Chronograph, $170.99

magnetospeed chronograph
Great Deal on efficient, reliable, easy-to-use Chronograph

Priced at just $170.99, the Magnetospeed Sporter Chronograph model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to set up sky-screens or tripods. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetospeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily to your mobile device. Check out this Magnetospeed Sporter Review to learn more.

4. EuroOptic — Athlon Argos BTR 6-24X50mm FFP, $249.99

athlon argos scope sale
No FFP scope can rival this 6-24X Athlon anywhere near this price

Looking to get into PRS or need an affordable FFP scope? Check out this Athlon Argos BTR 6-24X50mm riflescope. Now deeply discounted, this versatile optic features a wide 6-24X magnification range — just about perfect for PRS (or varmint hunting). Controls are precise and glass is surprisingly good. The Argos BTR’s advanced ATMR reticle features a 2 MOA center cross and 2 MOA hashmarks to compensate for bullet drop and wind drift. This scope has a First Focal Plane (FFP) reticle, meaning the reticle hashmarks stay constant relative to the viewed target as you zoom in or out.

5. Creedmoor Sports — Radians Safety Product Sale

radians sale
radians sale
All Radians products now discounted 10-15%

Protecting your vision and hearing is vital. Every shooter needs good eye and ear protection. If you’re looking to upgrade your current safety gear, check out the Radians Safety Equipment Sale over at Creedmoor Sports. You can find everything from earmuffs to custom fit earplugs to ANSI Z87.1-certified safety glasses, all on sale. Head over to Creedmoor Sports this week for 10-15% savings on quality eye and ear protection.

6. Amazon — Lyman Brass Smith Xpress, $119.99

lyman brass smith
Efficient, well-designed power trimmer that indexes off shoulder

Trimming brass is critical to precision reloading. However, with most case trimmers it’s a pain to adjust trim length, plus the hand-cranking becomes tiresome. A better, more efficient case trimming solution is offered by the Lyman Brass Smith Case Trim Xpress. We like this case trimmer for good reason. The smart design allows for .001″ trim length adjustments with the click of a dial. The tool ships with 10 bushings that cover the most popular neck sizes on the market. To see a video of the Case Trim Xpress in action, check out our Lyman Case Trim Xpress Review.

7. EuroOptic — SIG Sauer Kilo1000 Laser Range Finder, $129.99

sig kilo rangefinder
Insanely low price on good Laser Rangefinder for hunters

Get a quality Laser Rangefinder at an insanely low price. Right now the SIG Sauer Kilo1000 Laser Range Finder is just $129.99 on sale at EuroOptic. This unit is probably all a hunter needs for most ranging chores. SIG says it is good to 1200 yards on reflective targets, 800 yards on trees and 600 yard on animals such as deer. The handy Kilo1000 LRG is compact and easy to carry. Note: EuroOptic also has BDX model SIG Sauer LRFs on sale. These BDX units communicate via bluetooth with your Ballistics App. The SIG Kilo 1000 with BDX is $199.99. If you want more performance, EuroOptic also has longer-range-rated SIG Laser Rangefinders for a bit more money. For example the 2200-yard-rated Sig2200 BDX is $319.99 on sale, a $180.00 savings.

8. Amazon — Brifit Digital Mini Scale, $16.99

powder bullet scale
Good, very compact scale for component sorting, many positive reviews

Handloaders can benefit from having a speedy, compact digital scale for basic tasks. Use this as a supplement to your ChargeMaster or premium, full-size scale. The very affordable Brifit Digital Mini Scale is great for sorting duties — weighing bullets, brass, primers and other items. This handy Brifit pocket scale measures up to 200 grams, with stated precision of 0.01 grams. With the push of a button, you can switch between grams, ounces, or grains instantly. This $16.99 Brifit scale ships with a 50 gram calibration weight. The unit boasts a nice LCD Backlit Display and “Auto Off” feature that saves battery life.

9. Amazon — Meralian Range Bag and Pistol Tote, $26.99

range bag sale
Great Value for Range Bag that holds multiple pistols, muffs, and mags

Here’s a well-designed, functional range bag at a good price — just $26.99. The Meralian tactical pistol range bag is great for hauling handguns. With a 13″ x 7″ x 9″ main compartment, there’s plenty of room for your pistols, ammo, and safety gear such as muffs and eye protection. Under an outer zip panel are six dedicated pouches for magazines. This range bag is currently available in four colors. You may want to select a bright color so your bag stands out at the range.

10. Amazon — Feyachi AR Brass Shell Catcher, $11.99

ar brass catcher
Many great features — holds its shape, easy to empty

ar brass catcher .223 Rem ejection netShooting AR-platform rifles can be fun but they can eject spent cases a considerable distance. Nobody likes to chase down the fired brass tossed out by these semi-auto rifles.

An easy fix for brass-chasing chores is the Feyachi Brass Shell Catcher. This attaches to the side of your AR and capture all your ejected cases. This new version features a strong 45-deg upper wire frame so the entire unit sticks out further and holds its shape better. There is also an updated Velcro attachment plus reinforced mesh that retains large amounts of brass. With these design enhancements, this is a smart choice AR brass-catcher. This unit also boasts a zipper at the bottom for quick and easy brass removal.

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June 7th, 2021

Say What? Sharpshooting S&W Instructor Schools Noisy Critic

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo
Shown is the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm model. The M&P 45 is the same except for chambering.

You’ll hear some shooters complain loudly about the (perceived) lack of accuracy of their handguns. Well, sometimes the problem IS the gun, but other times the problem is “driver error”. At the range, we often hear guys blame their gun for poor accuracy, when in fact the real problem is lack of operator skill. This saga, posted a while back on Facebook, is a case in point.

Here’s the story. A gentleman attending an armorer’s course at Smith & Wesson was loudly dissing a S&W M&P 45, claiming it could not shoot. Very loudly he tells the instructor, “the M&P 45 one of our officers is carrying is sh*t”. He then trash-talks the gun, saying that both he and his officer couldn’t get the gun to shoot decent groups, either with FMJ or duty ammo.

Well it seems that Gregory Grutter, S&W’s Chief Firearms Instructor, happened to overhear these vociferous complaints, so Grutter asked to test-fire the M&P 45 pistol. Grutter put a couple of his business cards up at 15 yards, then shot one with Winchester Ranger SXT and the other with Winchester White Box ammo. Grutter’s best group was about half an inch, measured with OnTarget. Check it out:

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo

We’re told that, after hearing the litany of complaints, Grutter walked over to the loud-mouthed grumbler and asked: “Hey Sir, can I shoot it?

“Have at it, I don’t want that POS back!” said Mr. Negative.

Kharma time baby… In Grutter’s hands the M&P performed superbly. Here are Grutter’s two 5-shot groups, each shot at 15 yards with the .45 ACP Smith & Wesson pistol. Pretty darn impressive:

Smith Wesson pistol accuracy Grutter M&P 45 .45 ACP Winchester ammo

After seeing this, the complainer asked: “Why did you shoot your cards — Ain’t got no targets?”

Grutter smiled and replied: “Nah… in case you or your officer want to learn how to shoot [this way] you will have the numbers to call.” Badda Bing!

Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
June 7th, 2021

Garand, Springfield, Modern Military Match at Camp Perry

Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target

It’s great to see normalcy return to our shooting facilities, including Camp Perry. COVID is still a concern, but the ranges are opening up at long last. On May 22, 2021, the CMP hosted a Garand/Springfield/Vintage and Modern Military Rifle (GSMM) Match on the electronic targets of Petrarca Range at Camp Perry.

Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target
Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target

The CMP’s recreational-style events, like the GSMM Match, are designed to ease interested individuals into the sport. On the firing line are a mix of seasoned competitors and those getting started in marksmanship. They all come together to share a common interest. The match allows shooters to meet old friends and enjoy the company of fellow shooters. And of course there is the fun and challenge of the course of fire.

Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target

GSMM matches attract new shooters as well as older competitors. You don’t need to make a huge investment in rifles or optics. We have friends who have done well with a “box stock” 1903 A3 Springfield they acquired from the CMP decades ago

During Petrarca GSMM matches, CMP staff members are always on hand to ensure safety on the firing line and answer questions. This match is fun and efficient. The electronic targets, with monitors at each station, show shot location/score instantly. And there is no pit duty. Competitors never have to venture downrange to change or retrieve targets.

Twenty-five competitors participated in Camp Perry’s May GSMM Rifle event. Similar GSSM matches will be held at the Petrarca Range on June 26 and September 25, 2021. Here are the May Match “Top Guns” by class, with their scores:

M1 Garand: Jeffrey Beierke, Blissfield, Michigan – 277-3X
Springfield: Andy Welter, Westerville, Ohio – 262-6X
Modern Military: Scott Whiteman, Fort Wayne, Indiana – 280-5X

Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target
Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target
Petrarca Range Camp Perry GSMM electronic target

CLICK HERE to learn about the Petrarca Range electronic target system at Camp Perry, Ohio.

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June 6th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: AR Service Rifle — Focus on Ammo & Reloading

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
The 600-yard target has an X-Ring 6 inches (1 MOA) across, while the 10-Ring spans 12 inches (2 MOA).

The following article is about reloading for NRA/CMP Highpower Rifle competition and is geared toward competitors shooting the AR15 Service Rifle. In Highpower Rifle competition, shooters fire in four stages: Standing slow-fire at 200 yards, Sitting rapid-fire at 200 yards, Prone rapid-fire at 300 yards, and Prone slow-fire at 600 yards. Competitors use a sling for support in all positions but standing. A typical AR15 Service Rifle sports a 20″ free-floated barrel and a 4.5-pound trigger. Service Rifle scopes are limited to maximum power of 4.5X.

Thoughts on Loading for Service Rifles, Particularly for 600 Yards

by Danny Arnold, Team CMP
Article originally published in CMP Shooting News

Before we get started, I want to stress that all of the information that follows is geared toward the .223/5.56 Service Rifle. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing here for anyone else, but the .223/5.56 Service Rifle platform is where I’ve spent the majority of my time, so here we go.

There is only one “Perfect” 600–yard load for my rifle, True or False? This example is more anecdotal than scientific, but it provides some food for thought….

Team CMP spent the early part of March competing in the Orange Blossom Regional. As soon as we got on the range, Sara Rozanski (Team CMP member) started having problems with her 600-yard ammunition. Nearly 1/3 of her cases were exiting the chamber minus the primers. I offered to swap my ammunition for hers, suspecting that my Wylde chamber would be more forgiving than her CLE chamber — a solution that seemed to solve the problem. At least neither of us was blowing primers!

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Sara’s ammunition was a factory load using a well-known 80+ grain bullet with an unknown primer and powder, using brass from a respected manufacturer. My load was a different brand of 80-grain bullet, with my choice of powder and primer, all in brass made by someone else. Given the color of the primers, the only thing that our ammunition could possibly have had in common was the brand of powder… maybe. So, how did we shoot?

Sara and I shot the two-person team together and the entire 2,400 Aggregate, although on different relays. Sara’s combined 600-yard score was 780-28X (97.5%). Mine was a 783-24X (97.87%). Our scores were never more than two points apart on any of the four days. Keep in mind that we were using each other’s ammunition the entire time.

So, we had different barrels, chambers and ammunition, but similar results. That goes back to the idea that a good load will perform similarly if fired in a good barrel.

Are We Too Focused on Ballistic Coefficients (BCs)?
The revailing wisdom has always trended toward loading the highest-BC bullet we could find and pushing it as fast as possible. Back in the early ’90s when I got started with the AR15, the 80-grain Sierra was state of the art. Actually, I picked up all of my Leg points with it, although today it looks a bit dated — kinda like me.

So, the question I’ll pose is this: Would you rather shoot a high-BC bullet that groups 3/4-MOA (minute of angle) or a lower-BC bullet that groups into one-half-MOA traveling 50 feet-per-second faster? The reason that I posed this question is a situation I found myself in a decade ago. Our coach decided that he wanted us to pair-fire some 600-yard for practice. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten the memo and all that I had available was my normal short-line ammunition, loaded with a 77-grain bullet. The shooter I was paired with was using a higher-BC bullet than I was, but in the end, we both shot 198s.

Admittedly, using 77-grainers meant that coach had to work a little harder to keep us together on target, but it was a teaching moment for me. I knew that my upper shot 77s better than the available bullets in the 80-grain range, so I cranked out a windage table for the 77-grain bullet at 600 yards and shot those for the rest of the season. After all, the wind blows ALL bullets around. It’s just a matter of knowing what YOUR bullet is doing.

With the shortages that we’re experiencing right now, a lighter bullet may be all that you have available for the 2021 season. That doesn’t mean that you’re disadvantaged though.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold teaching Highpower Clinic at 2021 CMP Eastern Games

Loading High-BC Bullets
In the past decade, several bullets have appeared that weigh 80-grains or more. One thing that many of them have in common is a very sharp nose profile, whether metal or polymer. The question is: Are you using the right seating stem?

The jacket material in the bullet’s nose is very thin. If you section a bullet, you’ll find that there is a surprising amount of air space in the nose. If you’re using older seating dies, your seating stem may be contacting the bullet nose too close to the tip, where the jacket is the both thinnest and is unsupported by the lead core. This can manifest itself either as a deformation at the very tip of the bullet or as a circular dent around the bullet nose that you can see and feel with your thumbnail. I think we can all agree that denting a bullet is usually considered a bad thing.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

One company goes so far as to recommend their proprietary seating stem for use with their high-BC bullets. Other companies leave it up to you to find a seating stem that will allow the bullet nose to go deeper into the seating stem, moving the contact point further down the bullet where the jacket is thicker and supported by the core material.

Seating Depth and Bullet Preferences
Some bullets don’t mind some “jump” into the lands, but some really do. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t tell you much about that. Your chamber configuration (Wylde, CLE, or some hybrid of the two) and the bullet that you choose will determine your optimal seating depth. Long and short of it, a quality measuring tool to determine seating depth is a necessity these days. Keep in mind that if you’re doing this with a brand new barrel, the throat is likely going to change slightly in the first 200 rounds and may need to be re-measured. Actually, since all of your short range ammunition has to be loaded to magazine length, you’re probably better off developing your short range loads before starting on long range load development. That gives the throat a chance to wear in a bit on a new barrel.

Brass Prep — Why It Is Important
When match-grade AR15s first arrived on the scene, it was amazing how little it took to get them to shoot well. Other than making sure that I had brass from the same lot and running it through a set of match-grade dies, I did nothing. Of course, we were also using a post front sight. Was the occasional bad shot me, the rifle, the load or just an archaic sighting system?

Transitioning to optics has caused me to reconsider how and what I do in my reloading process: That, and having some extra time on my hands to experiment.

A little (or a lot) of time spent with a neck turning tool, a primer-pocket uniformer and a flash-hole reamer will quickly show you how consistent brass is by manufacturer and even by individual lot. That exercise also makes the prices charged for high-quality brass seem ridiculously cheap. That doesn’t mean that I advocate neck-turning or other uniforming practices, nor do I advocate spending scandalous amounts of money on long-range brass. However, our sport is about consistency. The consistency of your brass is a matter of choice, whether you choose to simply segregate cases by weight (cheap option), neck turn (labor intensive) or open your wallet a little wider for premium brass.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Weighing Charges vs. Throwing with Powder Measure
To measure or weigh? For a long time, I used a powder measure to throw all of my 600-yard loads. The powder I was using metered well, and the results downrange didn’t justify the extra time spent with a scale. That was in the day of iron sights though. Nowadays, I’m throwing my charges and trickling up to the desired weight as measured on a scale that weighs to a 100th of a grain.

To quantify the difference between individually weighing each charge versus throwing charges with a powder measure, I weighed six kernels of powder that I trickled into the pan and then dumped them into the hopper. Going through that process 10 times, I came up with an average weight of .08 grains for six kernels. Next, I threw 50 charges for weighing using my powder measure. If I felt the measure hanging up as it cut kernels, I put the charge back into the hopper without weighing it.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
That’s six kernels of powder sitting in the pan — average weight .08 grains.

Those 50 smoothly-thrown charges varied .26 grains from lowest to highest, with the majority varying no more than .16 grains from highest to lowest. If the desired weight was exactly in the middle, at worst you’d be .13 grains (9-10 kernels) low or high, with the majority being off no more than .08 grains (6 kernels) above or below the desired charge weight. Is that enough to send a shot outside the 2-MOA 10-Ring? Probably not.

Has more consistent brass and weighing charges to one-hundredth (0.01) of a grain added up to higher scores? Honestly, this question is hard to answer. Looking at the results on paper at 200 yards, using a powder that meters well combined with a consistent touch on the loading lever doesn’t appear measurably different than meticulously weighing each and every powder charge. Looking back over my 600-yard plots however, I can see a trend toward a group that is closer to X-Ring height.

Since the bullseye is widest at the center, shooting groups that are the height of the X-ring gives you more room for error when the wind is blowing. That can translate into higher 600-yard scores.

How You Load Your Ammunition vs. How You Load Your Rifle
The loading/chambering cycle of the AR-15 is, in a word, violent. You have a relatively heavy bolt and carrier assembly under power of a stout buffer spring slamming forward to chamber each round of ammunition. By design, those rounds were supposed to be held securely by the magazine feed lips until the bolt stripped them off the follower. Obviously, due to their overall length, 600-yard loads can’t be chambered that way. Although the barrel extension is funnel-shaped, it’s also got a lot of “teeth” ringing the inside of it (see below).

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Whether you’re using a standard magazine or a single-round loading device (SLED), dropping a round in the loading port and releasing the bolt is an act of faith in that you’re trusting the bullet to arrive in the chamber undamaged.

Ask yourself, how many times have you seen someone drop a round on the follower, press the bolt release and watch as the bolt jammed on a cockeyed round? If that happens once every 100 tries, how many times did the bolt close on a scratched, dented, or misaligned bullet? Could that be the cause of the occasional errant shot?

My technique is to drop each round on top of the SLED and then push it slightly forward with my finger, partially chambering it before releasing the bolt. Admittedly, some people may be unable to do this due to body configuration or left-handedness, but why go to all the trouble of loading “perfect” ammunition and then damage it on the way into the chamber?

Now that we’ve covered bullets, brass, and assorted errata we can move on to discussing loads for 600 Yards…

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels highpower target
The NRA Highpower 600-yard target has a 6-inch (1 MOA) X-Ring, and a 12-inch (2 MOA) 10-Ring.

Load Development for 600 Yards

Finding a load for 600 yards is a lot like finding a load for short range. Once I decide on a bullet, powder, primer, velocity range and a measured guesstimate of seating depth, I load 10 rounds of each test load, increasing in 0.2 (2/10) grain increments. I test them from the prone position at 200 yards. Ideally, I want to see two loads that are 0.2 (2/10) of a grain apart that shoot almost identical groups. The load that I choose will fall in between the two best shooting loads that I tested. If the first load is XX.2 grains and the second is XX.4 grains, my chosen load will be XX.3 grains.

Why develop loads in 0.2-grain (tenths) increments if I have a scale that measures in 0.01-grain (hundredths) increments? Or, why not test in 0.1-grain increments?

For me, working in 0.2-grain increments gets me to the results quicker. Also, there is a difference between accuracy and consistency in this scenario. Developing loads in 0.2-grain increments gets me to an accurate load. Producing that load using a scale that accurately measures to .01-grain insures a consistent load, assuming that I do my part.

Once I’ve settled on a load, it’s time to play with seating depth, if I choose to. If I’m lucky and the groups are acceptable as-is, I won’t do anything. If I think there’s room for improvement, I’ll experiment a little. Depending on the bullet, changing the seating depth by a couple of thousandths one way or the other may change the group size. During this phase of testing, it’s a good idea to chamber a round and see if the entire round will then extract. If you leave a bullet stuck in the throat, your rounds are too long. Finding that out at a match can ruin an otherwise good day.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold shooting his AR15 Service Rifle, standing position at 2021 CMP Eastern Games.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your barrel is not static. Every round fired has an effect on the throat, vaporizing and scouring away metal until the distance the bullet travels before meeting the rifling measurably increases. If you have chosen a bullet that shoots best when close to the lands, you’ll need to periodically re-measure and possibly change your bullet seating depth to maintain that optimal relationship.

The Elephant in the Room — User Skill Level

There’s really not a delicate way to put this, so I won’t try. There’s little point in spending time and effort developing a load that shoots into half-MOA off the bench if you’re only capable of shooting 2 MOA using a sling right now.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. On the contrary, it just means that your time and effort is better spent practicing with some good short-range ammunition on reduced targets at a 100 or 200-yard range. At that distance, wind is not a factor and your technique can be improved more quickly so you’re in a position to benefit from that ½ MOA ammunition.

About Team CMP
CMP has created a Highpower Team with top competitors. Team CMP competes at several events throughout the year and most importantly, helps to teach Highpower Clinics at CMP Competition Events. Learn from Team CMP at Camp Perry during the Advanced Highpower Clinic, scheduled this year for July 30 through August 1, 2021. Visit the Highpower Clinic Web Page for more information.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally-chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, visit www.TheCMP.org.

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June 6th, 2021

Normandy Invasion — “Operation Overlord” — June 6, 1944

Seventy-seven years ago today, on June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy as part of Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious invasion in history. The ultimate goal was the liberation of Europe. The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks, and naval bombardments. In the early morning, amphibious landings on five beaches, code-named Juno, Gold, Omaha, Utah, and Sword commenced. During the evening the remaining parachute divisions landed. The D-Day Normandy landings were the first successful opposed landings across the English Channel in over eight centuries.

Today we should remember those who crossed the Channel to begin the liberation of Europe. Thousands of soldiers, sailors, and aviators gave their lives on June 6, 1944, courageously supporting the cause of defeating Nazi Tyranny. Their sacrifice on “The Longest Day”, allowed people throughout Europe to enjoy freedom. We should remember those brave warriors, and never forget that freedom is not free — it requires continuing vigilance and sacrifice.

Was Normandy the Largest Amphibious Invasion in History?
Operation Overload was the largest combined amphibious operation in history. Some historians say there were more fighting troops on-board ships during Okinawa. But the combined force of soldiers, sailors, paratroopers, aviators, and civilians (manning ships), was greater at D-Day, and more men were debarked the first day at D-Day. Likewise, most historians say that over 5000 ships took part in D-Day. This far exceeds the number of ships at Okinawa (less than 1600 by most accounts).

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June 6th, 2021

Summer Fun Shooting Targets — For Purchase or Download

splatter target Midsouth birchwood casey

When it comes to shooting targets, “Variety is the spice of life”. Shooting the same old target over and over again can get boring. We like to shoot a variety of targets. And we have to admit, the arrival of a new set of colorful targets in the mailbox has been known to motivate us to grab our guns and gear and head to the range. Midsouth Shooters Supply stocks a wide variety of colorful Birchwood Casey and Champion targets, both the splatter variety and conventional types.

Here are some of our favorite fun-shooting targets. They are all relatively inexpensive to buy. You can sometimes get free shipping if you combine a target purchase with a larger order. And if you order targets through Amazon and are a Prime member, you’ll get free shipping. The Dirty Bird targets are produced by Birchwood Casey as is the Pairie Dog Pair, a B/C Shoot-N-C target.

splatter target Midsouth birchwood casey
splatter target Midsouth birchwood casey

And here are a couple of FREE fun targets, courtesy of the NRA Blog:

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